As of late I have been trying my hardest to grant myself patience and appreciation in the process of finding and defining my career. It hasn’t been easy and for the past three months it has literally been a daily meditation – let it be – let go of expectations – trust the timing of your life.
Today I listened to an interview in a series with Krishna Das (the Keith Richards of hippy dippy- mantra chanting- cult following- Eastern informed pop-music). In it an audience member asked are you a doer or are you a being? Honestly, that question sends me into the same cognitive overdrive that, that one semester of astronomy did. So, my succinct answer is that I have been a doer. That my default state is to do. Yes, I do with precision, thought and compassion but I always do. Doing. Being.
One of my most beloved professors lived in Nigeria for many years. She shared the commentary that in most of Africa people don’t ask, “What do you do?” but rather, “Who are you?”. This distinction corresponds directly with the rate of unemployment (a Western construct) in the area. “What do you do?” situates the opposing party into an evaluation of worth based on circumstances largely outside of their control. “Who are you?” evaluates a person on who they are as a person, their thoughts, their actions.
Full circle, this summer I went to an intensive women’s retreat where one of many soul bearing exercises was to ask as many women as we could over lunch, “Who are you?”. When they answered you were to continue to press, ask three additional times “Who are you?”.
I went into the gathering with my mental notes in order: Mother, Medical Administrator, Student, Writer, Getter of Groceries, Cleaner of Toilets, Information Consumer, Artist. BAM. Iron clad with retort, I pose the question to the unassuming middle aged, grayed, Teva wearing woman in font of me in the buffet line:
“Who are you?”
“I am the human expression of the divine”.
“Uhh”. Let me regroup.
“Who are you?”